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Congratulations to AAAS 2017-18 Fellow: 
Chris Jay Schaben - Omaha Public Schools, NAS Long Range Planning Committee Member and AAAS Representative, for his distinguished contributions to the field of science education, particularly for advancing precollegiate student research and community efforts in STEM, research, and science education! 

NAS Friend of Science Award

Friend of Science Honorees

2018 Honorees

Mary Kalen Romjue
Orlando, FL

Dr. Romjue graduated from William Jewell College She in Liberty, MO with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Biology. She returned to Nebraska to teach Middle School Sciences, General and Advanced Biology at Naponee Public Schools and Franklin Public Schools (1963-1987). She organized School wide Science Fairs in both schools and her students competed in the Nebraska Junior Academy of Sciences, Junior Science and Humanities Symposiums, the Greater Nebraska Science and Engineering Fair (GNSEF), the Central Nebraska Science & Engineering Fair (CNSEF), and the International Science and Engineering Fairs (ISEF) throughout those 24 years.

A new committee, the Scientific Review Committee (SRC) was formed in 1974. Dr. Ritter, Dr. Rhodes and Mary wrote rules for student research involving Vertebrate Animals, Human Subjects, Pathogens, and Recombinant DNA etc. Any science fair affiliated with the ISEF worldwide is required to follow these rules. All research submitted to ISEF is reviewed for compliance. She served on the SRC until 2002. The top two students at ISEF go to the Nobel Award Ceremonies in Stockholm, Sweden. In 1988 she helped as their escort. Then in 1998 & 1989 she helped escort the American Students to the South American Science Fairs in Novo Hamburgo, Brazil.

Mary was awarded the Henzlik Award for Outstanding Teacher In Nebraska and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching Certificate of Honor, State Award Winner in 1985. 

She earned her Ph. D. at the University of Nebraska/Lincoln (UNL) in 1991 and then taught Elementary Science and Social Studies Methods at Fort Hays State University. During a leave of absence from FHSU she coordinated an EPA Grant to develop Environmental Science Curriculum for the Nebraska State Department of Education. In August 1993 she joined the Faculty at the University of Central Florida (UCF) where she taught Elementary Science Methods and Space Science for Educators on Orlando, Cocoa, Daytona Beach and Palm Bay Campuses until retirement in 2010.

Currently Dr. Romjue volunteers at the Brevard Zoo Dinosaur Exhibit and in a Fossil Lab (The Academy of Natural History Preparation). She also assists with SCSEA Projects like, the Florida Middle School Science Bowl and Energy Whiz Olympics.

Michael Sibbernsen
Lincoln, NE

Michael Sibbernsen is a Lecturer of Astronomy at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln, co-founder and CEO of Branched Oak Observatory, and a NASA Solar System Ambassador for the state of Nebraska. Working in an ad-hoc capacity, Michael and his wife Kendra facilitate the NASA Nebraska High Altitude Ballooning (N-NHAB) Program launching scientific payloads into near-space.

Before working at the university, Michael was the Science & Technology Coordinator for the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, and before that, the Outreach Coordinator for the NASA Nebraska Space Grant. Michael has traveled throughout the state delivering hundreds of hands-on science & astronomy demonstrations and workshops for teachers and students under the auspices of NASA, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and the Nebraska Department of Education. Michael has appeared on national television, and was for some time, a regular fixture as “the science guy” on the local “Morning Blend” talk-show in Omaha.

In September of 2017, the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Science awarded Michael their “Catalyst Award," the organization's highest honor in recognition of significant contributions to science and science education in the state of Nebraska. Michael lives with his wife, Dr. Kendra Sibbernsen and identical twin sons, Matthew and Lucas.

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